Jul 18, 2022
As one season ends, another precedes similar to how people change-mentally and holistically-and progress with their lives. This is only possible with time, which is one of the most fundamental and crucial resources. Because only with time will seasons change and people mature. Yet it is very limited, and what we choose to do with our time determines the results: our future.
"The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes" is a 2018 award winning light novel. Comprising of a single volume, it is expected to be a packed and short read but manages to tell its tale seamlessly.
The set-up is quite generic: out in
the countryside lives students attending Kozaki High School but…there lies a mystery of its own-the Urashima Tunnel, a place rumoured to grant one's any wish at the expense of their time/irreclaimable years of life.
The story revolves around our two main characters: Kaoru Touno-a regular highschool student whose family suffered a fallout, and the transfer student Anzu Hanashiro-a strong-willed individual only interested in the peculiar, or the extraordinary-both having their fateful encounter at the aforementioned tunnel. While differing in character, they both share a similarity. Kaoru who clings onto his lost sister in hopes of her miraculous return, and Anzu who seeks establishment in the world, to leave a mark in society. One who looks into the past and one who looks into the future, nonetheless they both carry a longing wish to be fulfilled.
The general outline follows the everyday lives of the two individuals, more specifically in school and their endeavours to uncover the Urashima Tunnel's mystery. As the days progress, the protagonists not only get closer to the truth, but also discover humanity in the other along with those around them and ultimately new value and comfort to their lives. This respite from the past is made possible with 'Time' but the same can be said for the contrary as displayed in the story. Whilst these may seem mundane and unnecessary in the beginning, it all proves to be essential building blocks that adds narrative pressure to the climatic decision: once again, to take a step forward into the future or backwards into the past-to progress on what one has built or forgo the connections one has made.
Overall, the main characters of the story are generally well built-we learn of their past, tendencies and nature, and their development. While the interactions and dialogue do not accumulate to an overflow of poignant emotions, they are realistic. The art, while few and lacking intricacy, captured and portrayed the emotions purposefully. Most crucially, the story remains coherent and while the consequences remain untold, the objective was reached.
The title "The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes" holds the key to this symbolic tale of regret. Will time heal all wounds or be the emissary of dreadful curses? That depends entirely on how one intends to use it.
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